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Conversocial Heroes: Using Twitter to Change the World #GreatSmog

By Anna Drennan on Dec 12, 2012 5:30:00 PM

Green and sustainable social media agency ClearWorld Media has been up to great things again; this time - they're harnessing the power of social media to raise awareness for ClimateAction. 

The team sent out over 400 tweets over a 5 day period as part of the #GreatSmog campaign. Steven Chiu, ClearWorld Media CEO, tells us how they did it

On December 5th, 2012, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Great Smog of London, ClearWorld Media started ‘live’ tweeting the five day urban pollution event that would come to be known as one of the world’s deadliest human-created pollution events.

Our purpose in recreating this event was simply to raise awareness about urban air pollution. From our base in Beijing we know that many cities in this country and in Asia experience smog events similar to the Great Smog. In 1952, Londoners were slow to connect the terrible air pollution with a sudden spike in deaths.

Today in Asia, many are aware of the link but see air pollution as being a necessary cost of development. It had been hoped that initiatives like the Kyoto Protocol would help developing nations choose clean and green energy options over fossil fuels but this shift has been slow in happening and has lacked support. 

We are trying to take a different approach to bringing about change by using social media. We recreated the five day Great Smog of London as a way to show just how shocking the event was and hoped that the network effect would bring the issue of urban air pollution to a wider audience. 

From the morning of December 5th until the late evening of December 9th (all times GMT) we used Conversocial's scheduling tools to send out over 422 tweets. This included 24 tweets that we ‘retweeted’ because the content worked well within the frame of what we were doing.

We involved over 40 organizations in our event from environmental (@ClearAirLondon) to transport (@TfLOfficial) to the media (@thetimes). We contacted many organizations beforehand to ask for their help and support. They helped to bring our tweets to a wider audience and some also acted as willing participants (@NationalGallery). A few twitizens thought our tweets were real including the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green (@lfeatherstone). In most cases, we contacted those who thought that a Great Smog was actually causing havoc from our ClearWorld Media Twitter account (@mediacw) to tell them about the historical reenactment.

Our statistical analysis of our live tweeting of the Great Smog of London shows that we were successful in bringing the issues of smog and urban air pollution to a very wide audience, all around the world. Our tweets were retweeted 460 times. This meant that tweets about the Great Smog appeared just under 9 million times for almost 1.5 million people. We were mentioned 303 times from 220 different locations.

We were thrilled with how the awareness campaign took hold, with publications such as the Guardian and Londonist picking up on our activities and the cause behind them. Next, our team will be looking to try and take our environmental campaigns to Facebook. So keep an eye out for future initiatives like the #GreatSmog there. 

Have you seen any great examples of social awareness campaigns? Share them with us in the comments below!

Topics: Twitter

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